OSLO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Norway’s Austevoll Seafood reported a surprise fourth-quarter loss on Tuesday on lower salmon prices and as regulators in Peru blocked fisheries during the last five weeks of 2017, the company said.
Austevoll, which saw its shares fall 5 percent last year, is among the world’s largest makers of fishmeal and fish oil and owns 53 percent of Leroey Seafood, a major salmon farmer and fisheries firm.
Austevoll operates vessels with licensed quotas in Chile, Norway and Peru, three of the world’s top fisheries countries.
“Fishing (in Peru) was stopped due to an excessive proportion of fish below the minimum size, and was not permitted to restart until January,” the firm said, adding its 2017 catch there had been the smallest since it first entered the country more than a decade ago.
The final three months of the year had effectively amounted to a lost quarter for the South American operations, brokerage Nordea Markets said, adding that the dividend for 2017 was also lower than anticipated.
“We expect to adjust 2018-19 estimates by some 3-5 percent,” Nordea said.
Austevoll’s pretax result swung to a loss of 361 million Norwegian crowns ($46.14 million), while analysts in a Reuters poll on average had predicted a profit of 766 million.
The company’s core operating profit, measured before writedowns of the value of salmon stocks at the company’s Leroey Seafood affiliate, stood at 584 million crowns, against analysts’ expectations of 795 million.
By 0858 GMT, Austevoll’s shares fell 3 percent to 71.3 Norwegian crowns. ($1 = 7.8239 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg, writing by Terje Solsvik; editing by Louise Heavens)